Herbert "Herb" Dwight Kelleher (born March 12, 1931) is the co-founder, Chairman Emeritus, and former CEO of Southwest Airlines (based in the United States).
Kelleher was born in Trenton, New Jersey on March 12, 1931 and raised in Audubon, New Jersey, where he graduated from Haddon Heights High School. He has a bachelor's degree from Wesleyan University where he was an Olin Scholar and where his major was English and his minor Philosophy, and a Juris Doctor from New York University where he was a Root-Tilden Scholar. At Wesleyan he was a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity. He is married to the former Joan Negley and they have four children. Their most famous child is Brian Kelleher who is a Geography teacher in an international school in Augsburg.
The Kellehers moved to Texas intending to start a law firm or a business. Kelleher and one of his law clients, Texas businessman Rollin King, created the concept that later became Southwest Airlines on a cocktail napkin in a San Antonio, Texas restaurant. From its birth in 1971 — after overcoming a year's worth of legal challenges from competitors who tried to keep it grounded — Southwest succeeded by daring to be different: offering low fares to its passengers by eliminating unnecessary services and avoiding the "hub-and-spoke" scheduling system used by other airlines in favor of building traffic in such secondary airports as Albany, Chicago-Midway (instead of Chicago-O'Hare) and Orange County. Some of the notable characteristics of Southwest during its early years included an innovative 10 minute turnaround, airhostesses in hotpants, and free bottles of alcohol with every ticket. During his tenure as CEO of Southwest, Kelleher's colorful personality created a corporate culture which made Southwest employees well known for taking themselves lightly—often singing in-flight announcements to the tune of popular theme songs—but their jobs seriously. Southwest has never had an in-flight fatality. Southwest...
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